Behind the Line

Jean-Georges Confirms: ABC Kitchen Coming to Design District

Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has confirmed his popular Manhattan restaurant, ABC Kitchen, will open in Miami come late 2017. The critically acclaimed farm-to-table concept will be located in the Design District in a building that's under construction, according to Vongerichten. When the rustic-chic eatery opened in the Flatiron District in 2010, it earned a two-star review from then New York Times dining critic Sam Sifton. The relatively affordable restaurant has also been praised for igniting the interest in locally sourced, vegetable-forward cuisine.    

Vongerichten is in town to attend the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and to revamp the menu at Market at Edition, a casual eatery inside the Miami Beach Edition that's modeled after a Spanish boquería. There are various stations, including a raw bar, a cheese and charcuterie station, a dessert area, and a hot station featuring a pizza oven. The space is open all day, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a sprawling room bathed in natural light. 

The Alsatian toque says customers have requested that more pizzas and pastas be added to the menu, and he and his team will give patrons want they want. New items include broccoli rabe and spicy salami pizza ($14), sausage and kale pizza ($19), and spaghetti with tomato sauce, mint, and fresh Florida stone crab ($28). 
The chef/entrepreneur's company runs more than 20 restaurants, including Matador Room, also at the Miami Beach Edition. Indeed, Matador's executive chef is Jeremy Ford, who's still in the running in the latest season of Top Chef.  Vongerichten is very proud, saying Ford's new celebrity status has been great for business and, of course, for the rising talent's career too. He describes Ford as friendly and having a lot of passion, as well as someone who's  reliable and consistent. 

For someone as busy as Vongerichten, the celebrity chef is shockingly calm, and his energy is commendable. Case in point: Tonight he'll host a satellite South Beach Wine & Food festival event at Market titled Ping Pong, Pizza & Peroni, and if that's not enough, he asked his assistant if the evening could also include skating and bowling at the Edition. The event doesn't begin until 10:30 p.m.., but before that, the 2008 tribute dinner honoree will be at Best of the Best showing off his culinary chops. What's more, he's also trying to squeeze in a visit to Myumi, the omakase food truck at the Wynwood Yard. 

Then, Saturday afternoon, he and longtime pal Martha Stewart will cohost a rosé brunch on the Matador Room's beautiful terrace. The two powerhouses met in the 1980s in New York when their careers were taking off, and Vongerichten says he's a huge fan of Stewart. Later Saturday, he'll hosting Croquetas and Champagne at Palm Court in the Design District. He and his team will serve four types of croquetas, the success of which, he says, depends mostly upon the ingredients. 

In April 2015, reported a rumor that famed French chef Joël Robuchon signed a deal to bring three of his concepts to the Design District as part of the area's luxury expansion plan. It was later confirmed by Women's Wear Daily  that indeed the world's most decorated Michelin-starred chef will open L'Atelier, La Boutique, and La Terrace in the neighborhood in 2016. Around that time, rumors about Vongerichten setting up shop in the Design District also began to swirl, but the name of the concept hadn't been confirmed until now. 

Miami has been very kind to him, Vongerichten says, joking that maybe he should've started his empire in the Magic City instead of New York City.

Better late than never, JG. 

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Valeria Nekhim was born in the Ukraine and raised in Montreal. She has lived in Manhattan and Miami. Her favorite part of food writing is learning the stories of chefs and restaurateurs.